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Whole world is fighting with COVID-19 and India at present is on high alert. The first thought which comes to our mind is prevent and not panic. What your daily food can do to keep you safe from this virus, apart from keeping social distancing. The first and foremost tool is pump up your immunity as much as you can, through the right nutrition. Do not try fasting nor feasting at the moment.

   So what does immunity means and how is it relevant in the present situation. Immunity is physically a condition of balanced state of multi-cellular organisms, which allows natural or acquired resistance to disease. Our body is protected from diseases and infections by our immune system. It is the need of the hour for all of us to strengthen our immunity to keep ourselves safe and protected from the pandemic. By including the following foods on daily basis, we can build our immunity with right nutrients.

Include Citrus fruits: Vitamin C is key to our immunity. Fruits rich with vitamin C should be taken in good quantity. Fresh lemon, fresh nellikai/gooseberry/oranges are rich in vitamin C. All citrus fruits are rich with flavanoids, vitamin C and carotenoids. 

Tips to add citrus: Easiest way to get vitamin C is fresh juices. Fresh orange can be taken easily as such or in juice form, available locally now. Nellikai or gooseberries can be added in other juices or soups or curries or can be just grated on fresh salads. For children and elders the nellikai pulp can be included to any curries/chutney/palya.

Add Watermelon: Locally available fruit, watermelon is also an immunity booster. Nutritionally rich with potassium, vitamin A and C. Also, good news about eating watermelon is its low calories, so, you do not need to worry the portion size. Watermelon also provides vitamin B6 and glutathione. 

Tips to add watermelon: Freshly cut slices of watermelon are quite hydrating. Fruit salad of watermelon with lemon and pinch of pink salt or chaat masala. Fresh watermelon juice with ginger and lime are great immunity booster. For kids, watermelon juice can be added with pudina /mint leaves with honey. 

Include Super food Leafy green: Eat more of spinach/ palak. Spinach is rich with folates, vitamin A, C and lots of fibres. The nutrients in spinach boost the immunity by providing vital nutrients for cell division and DNA repair.

Tips to include leafy greens: Always spinach should be just blanched to prevent nutrient loss. You can add sauted/stir fried spinach with onion and garlic to any palaya/ soups/gravies. Pureed or fine ground spinach can be added to dosa batter or chapatti dough or as a gravy base for any curries. For children green rice bath/pulao can be quite interesting.

Include Power of Garlic: Garlic has antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal properties. This property helps in reducing severity of cold/flu/infections too. They are rich in sulphur compounds and minerals.

 Tips to include:  Garlic can be added at the time of seasoning/tadka for the curries/dals on daily basis. It can be added as paste or finely chopped. One of the easiest ways to add garlic to your meals is as grating to all dry fries/veggies. 

Include Ginger Nutrition: Ginger is known for its antibacterial and antiviral properties. Ginger tea is great way to kick start your day. It is a great immunity booster which helps in treating infectious diseases. Ginger contains gingerols which is well proven antioxidant.

Tips to include: It can be added to food preparations as paste. It can be added to your gravies along with onion and tomatoes or as shredded ginger on dry fries. Ginger rasam is a great appetizer.

 Include power of Tulsi: Our very own traditional herb tulsi is rich with many bioactive compounds to give antimicrobial benefits. Tulsi is very good for curing cold, cough, flu, sore throat. Tulsi is also known to counteract stress due to its anxiolytic and antidepressant properties. In the present scenario, the goodness of tulsi should be utilised through its regular use.

Tips to include Tulsi: Tulsi tea is quite effective and easy to prepare. Tulsi leaves can be eaten directly also. Tulsi decoctions are quite soothening for throat.

This immunity booster can help us sail through this difficult time of corona virus by strengthening our immune system. However, please note the personal hygiene and social distancing has to be followed.

Authored by Dr Sushma Appaiah

Nutrition counsellor & founder Golz- Nutrition & diet solutions.

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